King Lear (with Varya)
Location: Bartos Screening Room
Dir. Denis Klebleev. 2017, 56 mins. Digital projection. In Russian with English subtitles. This program of films by two of Russia’s most exciting young documentary filmmakers pairs two portraits of bonafide 21st-century eccentrics. King Lear introduces us to Viktor Rotin, an 81-year-old actor whose obsession with Shakespeare’s ill-fated monarch colors his perceptions of his own life, from his arrest for speculating in Soviet times to his comfortable dotage in Putin’s capitalist playground. Director Klebleev follows Rotin as he rants about his career, family, and Shakespeare theories when not bellowing Lear monologues at anyone who will listen. Followed by Varya (Dir. Alena Polunina. 2014. 48 mins.), a singular exploration of the crisis in Ukraine from the perspective of the eponymous protagonist, a socks-and-sandals-clad math teacher who decamps from Moscow to Maidan out of sympathy for the Ukrainian cause. Varya encounters rebels, idealists, and extremists, eventually finding a woman who models her exploits after Joan of Arc and calls herself the “Soul of Ukraine,” with whom she forms one of recent cinema’s most memorably strange friendships.
Tickets: $15 ($11 seniors and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / free for children under 3 and Museum members at the Film Lover and Kids Premium levels and above). Order tickets online. (Members may contact [email protected] with questions regarding online reservations.)
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